Think your emotions are stored in your heart? Think again. Emotions are chemical reactions in the brain. In Chapter one of Frustrations: Breakfast of Champions we lay the foundation for discover of emotional patterns by having you list at least 10 emotions you’ve felt in the previous week. Many people struggle to even name 10 while there are literally hundreds if not thousands of words to describe how you feel. (zealous, lethargic, ambivalent, unstoppable, creative, and so on).
Here’s your Champion’s lesson in brain function…
Your amygdala (near your brain stem) is the seat of your “fight or flight” response, and its job is to keep you alive. Your amygdala is always expecting the worst, and given that it is a necessary function for survival, it never shuts off.
Your left pre-frontal cortex, on the other hand, is in charge of higher function, creativity and happy thoughts. Unlike the amygdala, it starts shutting down as soon as your energy reserves get low. Simply stated, when you’re tired or hungry, “happy center” of your brain goes offline, unless you make conscious, focused choices to keep it active.
So, here are 4 easy tips to keep your happy brain running the show:
1. Keep healthy snacks on hand.
Have ‘brain food’ accessible so when your blood sugar drops, you can eat a healthy snack to re-elevate you mood and your energy. Stick with the natural stuff like apples, almonds, blueberries, cheese and carrots. I love to incorporate coconut oil into my life as much as possible. It is amazing “brain food” and aids in the absorption of Omega 3,6 and 9 essential fatty acids. Check out DJ Ley’s book “Coconut Oil for Life”. You’ll find recipes for coconut tidbits (my favorite snack –taste like candy bars!) and recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
2. Take a power nap.
I’m one of the lucky ones that can (and does) take quick naps during the day. My brain moves in 100 directions each day, so taking time to reboot and recharge is a must. This recharging doesn’t have to take long. 20 minutes of focused rest will put you back on top of your game. Set a timer, lie down on your back, take a few deep breaths and let your body get heavy. Do this even if you don’t believe you will fall asleep! Just before you slip into deep sleep, your timer will go off and you’ll awaken bright-eyed and ready to get on with your day.
3. Drink plenty of water.
Many times when we feel hungry or tired it’s actually because of dehydration. We get so busy in our day, it’s easy to forget to hydrate ourselves. Keep a water bottle nearby all throughout your day. And set a minimum goal of drinking 8 glasses before the day is through. If plain water is not your thing, infuse it naturally with citrus fruit, or cucumbers. I’m also becoming a big fan of anti-inflammatory teas such as turmeric-ginger with honey!
4. Practice gratitude.
Expressions of gratitude have been clinically proven to elevate mood and induce happiness. Remember, your amygdala is constantly looking for what’s wrong, so you can counteract it by reminding yourself of everything that’s right in your life.
From time to time we all succumb to things that zap our happiness and energy. But with these 4 tips, you can overcome the grumps and get back on track to happiness.
How will YOU make an effort to be happy today?
Action Step for today is to prioritize incorporating these suggestions into your life. Take one per week, and practice it daily. By the end of four weeks you will have established positive habits in all four areas to help boost your Positive Intelligence and decrease stressful frustration.